A Waterbury veteran is fighting to Veteran’s Day be a mandatory day off from school in Connecticut.
Veterans Day dates back to World War I. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the war ended. Not long after it became a national holiday and for decades all schools were closed to honor the people who served in wartime and peacetime.
But in 1995, Connecticut repealed the law and let each school district decide whether to stay open or closed. Ever since more and more districts are choosing to stay open.
“I’m against that,” Joseph Nolan, veteran and father of fallen veteran, said. “I think Veterans Day is a sacred day honoring all veterans living and deceased. I think by having just another school day, it diminishes the importance of the holiday.”
Nolan from Waterbury was a Marine in the Vietnam War.
He never talked much about that period in his life, but then his son Joseph was killed while serving in Iraq.
“Joe was 27. It was November 18, 2004,” Nolan said.
His son’s death got him thinking about what it means to be a veteran dead or alive. Memorial Day honors the fallen, but Veterans Day is about all vets, past and present.
Nolan said he is urging the states veteran’s affair committee to create a bill to change the law and make the day a mandatory holiday.
“I’m afraid what’s gonna happen in Connecticut is that eventually, not tomorrow, Veterans Day is just gonna fade away,” Nolan said.
Critics argue students can better be taught about the importance of the service of Veterans Day by having the schools open and inviting vets in to talk about war and their experiences.
But, Nolan argues veterans could come any other day of the school year. Parents told Eyewitness News kids need to be more away of the sacrifices of veterans and the freedoms they have allotted us.
“I believe we should go back to the old way,” grandmother Nancy Picard said. “These men gave their lives, they gave their all for our freedoms and I believe the children of today need to realize that and appreciate that.”
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